Help Kids Who Are Anxious About Moving and Keep Learning Alive During the Summer

 Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children. 

As usual, I have two or three items I need to mention first:

1.      The copies of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking that are being donated to libraries across the country were mailed out earlier this week.  Four went to Florida, three to California, two to Maine and Illinois and one each to New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Iowa, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Virginia.  At least ten of the people who nominated their libraries were sent an additional review copy of Show Me How! .   Many thanks to all of you…I really appreciate your willingness to read through the book and review it!!!I’ll let you know when the reviews will be up on their blogs.

2.      The teacher-training program I did last Friday for the staff of our local Boys and Girls Club at their annual Youth Development Conference (Building Self-Esteem…One Picture Book at a Time), went really well.  One of the staffers shared his experience of falling away from reading at about age eight or nine and not returning to it for pleasure until his twenties.  He asked what advice I would give to teachers and parents who are trying to address this issue with kids, especially boys.  I suggested a couple of things:

  • Be seen reading by your kids
  • Encourage and help kids to find books that address their interests or passions
  • Try the “Passport Project”.  This is a great summer activity.  Make a “passport” from construction paper and talk about local “hotspots” you can all visit.  Each page of the passport book will be devoted to one of those places…zoo, museum, art gallery, national park, landmark or forest, factory (take a tour), etc.  After the visit, kids can write a short story and draw an illustration (or paste in a photo).  Parent or teacher can stamp each page (like a visa stamp) and when the book is completed, a special treat or prize is awarded (bowling, dinner at a fancy restaurant, new clothes).

If you have some good suggestions, please do share.  The summer is almost upon us and I know it is difficult to keep kids in a learning mode…but it is important to continue some of the educational activities and routines…otherwise they take two steps back during the summer.

And now to our Perfect Picture Book Friday selection!

Friendships are very important to kids.  Studies done recently indicate that kindergarten children (especially boys) benefit from close positive relationships with other children their own age.   Parents can help by arranging supervised playdates and by attending library story-times and other community programs where young children have the opportunity to socially interact.

Moving disrupts those important friendships and most children are not enthusiastic about moving to a new neighborhood and attending a new school.  However, moving is a necessary part of many children’s lives. 

Here is a book that might help.

 

 Alexander, Who’s Not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) Going to Move

Written by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz

Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (1998)

Ages: 4 – 8

Themes:

Books for boys, common childhood experiences (moving), expressing emotions (anger, fear, anxiety), moving, pets.

Opening:

“They can’t make me pack my baseball mitt or my I LOVE DINOSAURS sweatshirt or my cowboy boots.  They can’t make me pack my ice skates, my jeans with eight zippers, my compass, my radio or my stuffed pig.  My dad is packing.  My mom is packing.  My brothers, Nick and Andrew, are packing.  I’m not packing. I’m not going to move!

Synopsis:  

From Amazon:

Alexander is not going to leave his best friend Paul. Or Rachel, the best babysitter in the world. Or the Baldwins, who have a terrific dog named Swoozie. Or Mr. and Mrs. Oberdorfer, who always give great treats on Halloween. Who cares if his father has a new job a thousand miles away? Alexander is not — Do you hear him? He Means it! — going to move.

Why do I like this book

We are all creatures of habit…and most of us don’t like changes or the unknown.  Alexander is no different and he expresses what many children will relate to.  I love that Alexander feels confident enough to let his family know what is bothering him.  I love that Alexander’s vivid imagination finds so many inventive alternatives to his moving.  I love that Alexander’s father comes up with a wonderful solution…buy a puppy who will accompany Alexander and his family on the move so that Alexander will have a ready-made friend to start his life in a new place.

Related Activities:

Any child will enjoy making this neighborhood map, but it can be especially helpful for kids who have just moved.  Making this map will enable your child to feel more comfortable in this new and strange place…invite one or two of his or her new classmates to help (with special snacks after a job well-done) and you will be helping your child to develop new friendships.

NEIGHBORHOOD PLAY MAT MAP (Courtesy www.Crayola.com)

 

Children’s pretend play often reflects the real world. While they make a map of your neighborhood or their route to school, encourage language, math, and memory skills by asking thinking questions.

1. Use at least one piece of posterboard. If you use two or more, lay the pieces side-by-side, making sure the sides touch each other. Tape the pieces together with short strips of wide masking tape. Then cover the seam with a long strip of tape from top to bottom. You may want to tape the seam on both sides for a more durable map.

2. Cover a large work surface, such as the floor, with newspaper. Put the poster board onto the newspaper.

3. Now think about, plan ahead, and draw your neighborhood. Ask an adult for permission to take walks in the area to help remember details. Use Crayola® Crayons to add bright colors and cover large coloring areas. Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils work well to outline roads and buildings, label signs, and do detail work.

Find more map-making crafts here at eHow

And lots more map-making crafts here at artistshelpingkids.

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

Sunday Post: Vehicle

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is VEHICLE.

I always try to tie in the theme with something related to parenting.

The dictionary first defines ‘vehicle’ as a means of transportation.

 But the dictionary has another definition for the word…a vehicle can also be a medium for communicating, expressing or accomplishing something.


  Art is certainly a vehicle through which we communicate and express our thoughts and emotions.

 

Books are another vehicle through which we learn information and discover things about ourselves and the world around us.

If you have young children, are you reading with them every day?  Studies reveal that children who are introduced to books at an early age are more successful in school.  Please join us in the Positive Parental Participation Reading Challenge and let us know what books you are reading with your children.

In my Friday post, I listed the 20 libraries that will be receiving a copy of Show Me How!  If you didn’t see that article, please click on this link.  I’ve asked the people who nominated their library to email me at vivian@positiveparentalparticipation.com so I can mail them a copy to present to their library.

Please don’t forget about Jackson’s Birthday-Earth Day Water Wishes page…your children are invited to draw a picture for the project…and your donation of $6 will move them closer to their goal of providing clean water for an entire community.  This is a wonderful opportunity to help children become involved in the world around them.  We are never too young (or too old) to learn the importance of sharing with others and reaching out to the community.

 

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

 http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/ 

And here are some other bloggers who are doing Jake’s Sunday Post:

http://cobbies69.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/sunday-post-vehicle/

http://cassiemeetsworld.com/photography/before-sunday-post-vehicle/

http://jullianeford.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/sunday-post-vehicle/

http://myphotoyear2012.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/sunday-post-vehicle/

http://reflectionsinapuddle.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/sunday-post-vehicle/

http://francineinretirement.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/sunday-post-vehicle/

http://davidrwetzelphotography.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/sunday-poast-vehicle/

http://motherwifestudentworker.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/weekly-sunday-post-vehicle/

http://catbirdphotography.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/sunday-post-vehicle/

Lentil: Encouraging Children to Embrace Volunteerism

 My son…on a fishing trip with us last year.

I can’t believe it is Friday already!  The days are flying by.  In a way, I’m happy because I am looking forward to May 11th when my younger son is flying in from Chicago to spend the weekend with us.  We already have a cabin reserved near Eleven Mile Canyon where we plan to go fly-fishing.

Living here in Colorado, we sometimes take for granted the pristine rivers and streams that are only a short drive away, as well as the faucets we can turn on to receive clean drinking water .  This is not the case for millions of people in other parts of the world.

I’m fortunate to have connected with Angela over at From the Faith of a Child.  She has started a new blog for a wonderful project that will benefit children who don’t have access to clean water the way we do.   Her son, Jackson, decided to forego birthday presents this year for his sixth birthday.  Instead, he wants to raise money so that a well can be dug in an area where children and their mothers have to walk hours each day to collect water for drinking and cooking and washing…and the water that they finally collect is often dirty and virtually unusable.  These children are being robbed of their childhoods…and often their lives are cut short because of the contaminated water.

If you click http://www.charitywater.org/whywater/ you can view the three minute video clip that will move you to tears…and hopefully to action! 

Your children can participate by drawing a picture to add to the Water Wish Art Gallery that Angela and Jackson have set up.

I hope everyone will read Angela’s post, look at Jackson’s art work that depicts his “Water Wish” and donate whatever they can to this worthwhile project.  The most impressive element in all of this is that it is a child who is leading the way.  Encouraging young children to contribute to the community and care about others is one of the most important lessons a parent can teach.  If you have the time, you can check out another organization that champions children who help others: www.KidsAreHeroes.org.

Now, since today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children, my entry is about a young boy who also understood the importance of helping his entire community by using his ingenuity and special talents.

 

Lentil

Written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey

Publisher: Viking Juvenile (1940)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes:

Music, community, cooperation, perseverance, problem solving, self-esteem, self-worth, teamwork, coping with disappointment, celebrating our uniqueness

Opening Line:

“In the town of Alto, Ohio, there lived a boy named Lentil.  Lentil had a happy life except for one thing – he wanted to sing but he couldn’t.”

Synopsis:

When Lentil discovers he cannot sing, he works very hard learn to play the harmonica instead.  One day, the townspeople gather to welcome home one of their leading citizens.  A jealous member of the town sabotages the homecoming and the band is unable to play.  Will Lentil and his harmonica save the day?

Why I like this book:

It is written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey…who also gave us One Morning in Maine, Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal!  Enough said!  The book was published over seventy years ago, but the issues it touches on remain relevant today.

The story shows children that even when they have a disappointment, they should never give up and that each of us has unique gifts and talents of great worth.  It also encourages community-mindedness and teamwork.  When so much of the world is in poverty and so many young children are suffering, we want our children to learn to reach out and help others, now and as they grow into adulthood. 

Related Activities:

Most children love music.  An empty oatmeal container and a wooden spoon make a great drum.  A piece of waxed paper wrapped around a plastic comb becomes a kazoo.  Check out the websites below for enough homemade instruments to form your own rhythm band.

Picture from Tania Cowling at Suite 101 

 Savvy Homemade egg shakers 

 Simple Homemade Musical Instruments For Kids

Quirky Momma tin can balloon drums 

 Picture from Quirky Momma

More homemade instruments from The Crafty Crow

Learn about multi-award-winning author/illustrator Robert McCloskey here

Read more about Mr. McCloskey on Laura Frazin Steele’s LA Books Examiner site.

LAST CHANCE: If you haven’t nominated your local library to win one of the 25 FREE copies of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking that we are donating, PLEASE do so now!  Click the book title link above to read a review from Summit Series for Families.

Help your favorite library win a copy!  Just leave a comment on this post or email me at vivian@positiveparentalparticipation.com, naming the library and telling why the people in your community would benefit from having the book available to them.  There are only a few more days…nominations close on April 30 and twenty-five libraries will be chosen using Random.org.

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.  And please don’t forget to leave a comment here, nominating your local library to be the recipient of a copy of Show Me How!

Free Copies of Show Me How! Nominate Your Library to Receive One!

This is National Library Week

To help celebrate…and to thank libraries across the country and around the globe for all they do to help children become readers and lovers of books, we are donating 25 copies of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking!

Preschool teachers and homeschooling families  use it as a curriculum tool and love the 100 classic picture book summaries and the quick and easy eco-friendly craft projects and the simple healthful cooking activities that are all geared to build self=esteem in children ages 2-7.

Don’t let your library miss out on a chance to add this must-have resource to their collection!  With reduced revenues and a tight economy, many libraries are severely limited in the new materials they can purchase.  Help out your community by nominating your library today!

The rules are simple…just leave a comment on my blog post, telling which library you are nominating and why you would like them to win a copy of the book.  At the end of April, we will choose 25 winners using Random.org.  If your library wins, you can also receive a copy for youself if you would like to do a review of Show Me How! on your blog, website, magazine or newspaper.  Because postage rates are so high for shipping overseas, if you nominate a library outside of the United States, I ask that you be willing to assist with the shipping costs.

Please help spread the word about this unique opportunity by tweeting and posting this on your Face Book, LinkedIn, Pinterist, Google+ or any other social networking vehicle you may use.